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NPR's Claudio Sanchez talks about higher education challenges during Finger Lakes visit

Reporter Claudio Sanchez, who appears regularly on NPR programs like Morning Edition and All Things Considered, took part this week in the 150th anniversary kickoff at Wells College in Aurora, in Cayuga County on Thursday.

He was part of a discussion on a wide range of topics, including the future of higher education in America.

Sanchez says the economics of attending a college or university really has to be part of any kind of conversation like this.

“Higher education or a college degree, is not a right, it is really the result of the hard work that one puts into it and it’s unrealistic to think that higher education or the colleges are going to be open or available to all,” Sanchez told WXXI news.

Sanchez says there are issues involving accessibility, cost, and the impact of those and other factors for many students, particularly minority students.

He says one issue, are the resources needed to help students who may not have had a good foundation in high school.

“So as much as they would like to commit to raising their enrollment of low-income minority students who may struggle their first and second year, do they  have the money, do they have the resources to help those students stay in school?”

Sanchez says another issue facing many students is that they aren’t always able to get good paying jobs when they get out of college, making it even more difficult to pay back large loan amounts.

“Many of these students are coming in with enormous financial need, kids were borrowing tons of money and there is very mixed results because the payout should be that these students graduate in 4 to 6 years, earn the kind of income that allows them to pay that money back, and we’re not seeing that,” Sanchez said.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.